WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Rural isolation

World News

Anna Robertson
1 November 2012

Reuben de Silva is a journalist and presenter for the rural development programme and the justice programme, ‘Crying without a Voice’.

Acting on rumours that rural volunteer teachers had not received payment for months (volunteers in Timor traditionally receive a stipend for their work), Reuben and his team set out over rough roads to the sub-district of Suai.

The rush to rebuild the education system post-conflict has meant that teacher-training has not kept up with enrolment growth and volunteer teachers comprise around a quarter of the teaching force.

They asked around the schools and talked with three volunteer teachers who said they had not been paid for months.

Reuben returned to Dili and invited the Minister of Education to meet volunteer teachers at the offices of Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK). After the discussion and interview with the minister was broadcast, the minister promised to investigate the issue further.

Reuben recounts with gusto this story of RTK success in helping build a bridge between the people and the government.

A strong nation requires a sturdy civil society which in turn requires a strong freedom of press. RTK’s role in building bridges and speaking for the voiceless is invaluable.

Click here for another story about RTK, and here for a look at the work of Caritas in Timor Leste.
Image: Reuben de Silva at Radio Timor Kmanek – building bridges and speaking for the voiceless.